Interview with Gavin Kostick and Danielle Galligan – Gym Swim Party – Dublin Fringe Festival
We had the chance to put some questions to Gavin Kostick and Danielle Galligan ahead of the opening of Gym Swim Party at the Dublin Fringe Festival next week. You can see the results below…
Gym Swim Party – The O’Reilly Theatre – 11th-15th September 2019
Co-Created by Gavin Kostick and Danielle Galligan
Co-Directed by Eddie Kay, Megan Kennedy and Louise Lowe
“Welcome to the turf war to end all wars. The two biggest gym chains in Dublin go head to head to settle old scores and gain control of the city. But when love crosses tribal lines, violence and vengeance gush across the city. Brought to the stage by award-winning director Louise Lowe, this is an epic tale made modern; a fusion of dance, movement and text soaked in sweat and fuelled by desire.”
From what I can see, this event isn’t listed as being produced by any of the traditional theatre companies. Is this a new venture?
Dani: Yes! There is no traditional theatre company behind Gym Swim Party. This is a coming together of artists at the top of their game across multiple disciplines to collaborate to create a piece of new work for the stage.
Can you tell me how this project came about? Where did the initial idea come from?
Dani: The initial idea came from heated discussions between both of us about the pros, cons and complexities of Gym Culture and Party Culture in contemporary Dublin.
Gavin: That combined with our passion for movement and shared love of Greek myth sparked something that has become Gym Swim Party.
When did you start work on this project? How long has it taken to get it to the stage?
Gavin: We began workshopping the idea in 2017 with the support of Fringe Lab and a troop of incredible actors. The workshops began with a contemporary dance class with Megan Kennedy followed by further devising with the actors.
Dani: We found collaborating with actors extremely instrumental to the overall creation of the piece as a whole and much of the movement in Gym Swim Party is informed by the body of each actor, their capabilities, physicality and habitual movements.
With Louise Lowe co-directing the production (along with Eddie Kay and Megan Kennedy), will there be an immersive element to the event or will it be more traditional?
Gavin: The piece itself does not have an immersive element but we can’t say that it is totally traditional either. Most of the action happens on the stage yes, but the piece challenges theatrical form and traditional storytelling as structurally it is inspired by the triptych. The piece moves from physical theatre down the Gym, to contemporary dance in Swim and finishes with Party, a scripted play.
Choreographer Megan Kennedy is one of the co-directors of Gym Swim Party. Is there a large dance element to the production?
Dani: Dance and physical theatre both play a critical part in the piece. The first part of the triptych is Gym where we reimagine the bloody battle of the Trojan War in a modern Dublin Gym. Here we use physical theatre and little to no words to tell the story. Eddie Kay, one of our co-directors has worked with the cast to create this first piece. The second part is Swim, where Megan Kennedy is transforming the love story between our characters Aggy and Cass into a contemporary dance piece. The third and final part is a piece of new writing by Gavin Kostick where Clem, Aggy’s wife, takes revenge on her unfaithful husband and his lover. Louise is working closely with Eddie and Megan to incorporate movement into Party so that all three parts of our triptych are speaking to each other. A key part of that is the soundscape being created by Denis Clohessy.
This looks like a very large scale production for the Fringe Festival. Was it always intended for the festival?
Gavin: We always knew that we wanted to make a large scale, ambitious piece that challenged theatrical form and process and as we developed the piece Dublin Fringe seemed like the natural home for Gym Swim Party. We actually bumped into each other at a Fringe show in 2016 which is where we conceived of the idea to collaborate in the first place. So really if it wasn’t for Fringe, there would be no Gym Swim Party.
Dani: Aside from that, year on year Dublin Fringe endeavours to programme pieces that speak to and challenge Dublin specifically finding innovative and imaginative ways to communicate with their audiences. Ruth McGowan and the team from Dublin Fringe are not afraid to take risks and neither are we. We also have to mention our tenacious and unwaveringly supportive co-producer Laura MacNaughton at the O’Reilly Theatre who gave Gym Swim Party a home from day one.
Gavin: It’s actually their first co-production and as part of that we’re able to make the show on the stage.
Dani: The O’Reilly and Fringe have made Gym Swim Party’s journey a very exciting one.
Gavin: But it’s been a great journey so far with some really great partners on the way: we’ve been working with Dublin City Council, The Pavilion Theatre, Tilestyle on the set, Youth Theatre Ireland and even with UNESCO World City of Literature: and of course, it simply wouldn’t exist without the support of the Arts Council.
What other productions are you excited about at the festival?
Dani: It’s hard to name a few since there are so many incredible artists programmed this year but if you had a gun to our head: Sauce, Cuckoo, Making A Mark, Minefield, Things We’ve Always Wanted To Tell You, Looking For Paradise, How to Square a circle, Fetch and Dreamgun!